BALTIMORE – Sean Doolittle continues to make progress in his rehab outings, but the A’s closer won’t be rejoining the major league roster just yet.
Manager Bob Melvin said Monday that Doolittle will make one or two more minor league appearances before the A’s consider activating him. That means the lefty isn’t likely to rejoin Oakland’s bullpen on the upcoming five-game homestand, according to Melvin, but more likely the next road trip that begins Aug. 24 in Seattle.
Doolittle struck out the side in his one inning of work for the Nashville Sounds on Sunday against El Paso, two days after another scoreless inning against Iowa.
“It’s the best he’s felt,” Melvin said. “And each and every time he’s said that. He’s getting more and more comfortable. We’ll still probably pitch him once or twice more.”
In four outings – one with Single-A Stockton and three with Nashville – Doolittle has allowed just one hit (a homer) in four innings, with seven strikeouts and no walks. His velocity has shown signs of improving too, as his fastball has hit 93 on the radar gun.
Melvin confirmed that left-hander Felix Doubront will make his first start for the A’s on Tuesday at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The A’s need a fifth starter after sending Aaron Brooks to the minors on Saturday to make room for bullpen reinforcements that were needed.
Doubront has made two extended relief appearances since joining the A’s after being acquired from Toronto for cash July 31. He’s allowed five runs on 10 hits over 10 2/3 innings in those outings, including a 6 1/3-inning stint against the Blue Jays last Wednesday. In five games with Toronto before being designated for assignment, Doubront went 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA (including four starts).
Because the A’s have a cross-country flight after Monday night’s game and aren’t scheduled to land until the pre-dawn hours Tuesday morning, they flew Doubront home early so he can get a decent night’s rest.
Left fielder Coco Crisp came away with a sore ankle and hip after Sunday’s collision with shortstop Marcus Semien, and is out of the lineup. Center fielder Billy Burns is getting a regularly scheduled day off, with Sam Fuld playing center and leading off.